Following the Ho Chi Minh Golf Trail is more than a golf vacation. It’s an out-of-the-box exploration of golf, history and culture that reveals tropical Vietnam for what it is — one of the most dynamic, affordable, safe destinations on Earth. The golf is world-class, the accommodations trés posh (and often suffused with French colonial charm), but that’s only part of the allure. From the bustle of modern Saigon to the languid, thousand-year-old streets of Hanoi, from the mountains of Dalat to the Red River Delta, from the sunny, windswept beaches of Phan Thiet to the startling seascapes of Ha Long Bay — the Ho Chi Minh Golf Trail delivers the ultimate in golfing adventure
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Moody’s (MCO) is in hot water once again. The Financial Times reported Tuesday that the agency mistakenly assigned a triple-A rating to billions of dollars in complex debt, due to a bug in its computer models. When Moody’s discovered the error, the FT reports, the agency changed its rating methodology, allowing the debt to retain its coveted top rating until a downgrade earlier this year. Moody’s said such a change would be “inconsistent with Moody’s analytical standards and company policies” and added it is reviewing the matter.
The errors in Moody’s ratings of constant proportion debt obligations, or CPDOs, are only the latest problem to surface at the rating agency. Connecticut’s attorney general said earlier this month he was looking into apparent conflicts of interest in Moody’s rating of a newly formed municipal bond insurance company, Berkshire Hathaway Assurance, which is run by a big Moody’s shareholder, Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (BRKA). And of course Moody’s and rival S&P are widely seen as having played a leading role in the inflation of the housing bubble, through their willingness to put triple-A ratings on debt backed by risky subprime loans. Moody’s shares have had a nice bounce off March’s panic lows, but the good will was gone Wednesday, as the stock plunged 13%.
Posted by Chismillionaire at 1:27 PM
The Capstan Table and the Rising and Furling Table both expand radially, stay circular from small to large, and double in seating capacity. They self store their expansion leaves and operate in mere seconds and, in so doing, bring real innovation and intrigue to dining.
Like something invented by Q for James Bond, the Capstan Table operates in just 4 seconds. The table’s outer edge is rotated by 30 degrees. This causes the entire top to break up, sections to rise and travel outward, and the formation of a new top with a greatly increased volume.
The Rising and Furling Table operates with similar aplomb. This table, in its occasional and low mode, stores a cluster of folded extension leaves under its first diameter top. It rises to full dining height. The extension leaves are then click released from their hanging position, swung outward, and opened out to their second diameter size. Here they snap-lock into place to form an absolutely rigid top of far larger size. 6, 8, 10 and 12 seat versions are available, as well as D-ended styles.
Both tables are unique, utterly fascinating and highly practical. They are just two examples of the innovative abilities of David Fletcher.
Posted by gjblass at 10:35 AM
Twenty-seven years after we saw the first installment of the Indiana Jones series, the fourth movie, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull opens nationwide tomorrow. In honor of the occasion, we’ll take a look at all the movies and tell you some stories you may not know about the Indy franchise.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
1. It Started with Bond Ambitions
George Lucas wrote a story called “The Adventures of Indiana Smith” in 1973. While on vacation in Hawaii in 1977, he spoke with Steven Spielberg, who mentioned he always wanted to do a James Bond film. Lucas told him the Indiana Smith character was even better than James Bond, and that’s how the collaboration between the two movie giants began.
2. Tom Selleck Almost Starred in It
Spielberg wanted to use Harrison Ford as Indiana Jones from the beginning, but Lucas rejected the idea, since he had already used Ford in American Grafitti and Star Wars. So Tom Selleck was chosen for the role. However, he dropped out to star in the television series Magnum, P.I. Selleck thought it would be a scheduling conflict, but filming on Raiders of the Lost Ark finished before Magnum went into production. Nick Nolte turned down the role also. Danny DeVito was the first choice for the character Sallah, but dropped out to do the TV show Taxi.
3. The Fourth Wall (it keeps out snakes)
Indiana Jones is not the only one afraid of snakes. When Marion (Karen Allen) falls in the snake pit, you can see the reflection of a cobra in the glass wall between them. You can also see a glass wall between Indiana and the cobra in the original movie and videotape, but it was cleaned up for the DVD release.
The Temple of Doom (1984)
4. Star Wars Tributes
There are many Star Wars touches in The Temple of Doom. The name of the nightclub in Shanghai is Club Obi Wan. The sound effect you hear when the lava pit opens as they begin to sacrifice Willie is the sound of Darth Vader opening his light saber. The sound effect of the plane failure is the same sound effect used for the Millennium Falcon when it stalls in The Empire Strikes Back. And the vest that Indy wears in his palace room was made for Han Solo.
5. Dan Akroyd has a Cameo?
Part of the crew made cameo appearances. In the airport scene at the beginning of the movie, Steven Spielberg, George Lucas, costume design Anthony Powell, and PR man Sid Ganis are missionaries. Executive producer George Marshall is a coolie pulling a rickshaw. Dan Akroyd (not a crew member) appears as an airport official who walks the cast to the plane.
6. An Elephant Almost Ruined the Movie
The dress Kate Capshaw wore in the Shanghai nightclub scene was covered with rare vintage beads made in the ’20s and ’30s. The club scene was filmed last, but the dress also made an appearance during the camping scene, where an elephant began eating it! Since there were no extra beads to match, the costume department had to repair the dress as best as they could. The result was so tight that Capshaw had trouble moving in it when they filmed the nightclub scene. Costume designer Anthony Powell filled out insurance forms for the dress, citing the cause of the damage as “dress eaten by elephant”. This was only the second movie for Capshaw, who has a masters degree in special education. Spielberg married Capshaw in 1991.
The Last Crusade (1989)
7. Even the Rats were Insured
The thousands of rats used in The Last Crusade were insured. The insurer wanted to know the minimum number of rats the scene could be shot with, and used the answer to write a policy with a “1,000 rat deductible.” The cast was padded with another thousand mechanical rats. Their voices were enhanced with the sound effects of ….chicken voices!
8. Lucas’ Dog was his Inspiration
At the end of the movie, Jones explains to his friend Sallah that his nickname Indiana came from his pet dog from long before. Sallah responds, “You were named after a dog?” and gets a great laugh out of it. But it’s true. Indiana was the name of an Alaskan malamute George Lucas owned in the ’70s. The same dog inspired the look of the Star Wars character Chewbacca. Jones’ real first name is Henry, which is why his father Henry Jones, Sr. calls him Junior. The characters Willie and Short Round in The Temple of Doom were also named after other people’s dogs.
The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
9. The Sequel Almost Involved Mars
Nineteen years is a long time to come up with a new title for a movie, and many were posed before producers settled on Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Fake titles that have been released over the years include Indiana Jones and the Staff of Moses, Indiana Jones and the Shores of Avalon, Indiana Jones and the Jade Princess,Indiana Jones and the Raiders of Time, and Indiana Jones and the Ravages of Time. Real script titles or ideas that were rejected were Indiana Jones and the Garden of Life, Indiana Jones and the Monkey King, Indiana Jones and the Saucer Men From Mars, and Indiana Jones and the Red Scare. Working titles for The Kingdom of the Crystal Skull have included Fourth Installment of the Indiana Jones Adventures, Indiana Jones 4, Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods, Raiders of the Lost Ark Sequel, and The Untitled Genre Project. It is clear that a lot of work went into the movie before they even knew what it would be about!
10. The Secret of the Film’s Look
Great pains were taken to give the fourth movie the look and feel of the first three, despite the time gap. Steven Spielberg insisted on using stunt men instead of computer animation. Computer-generated effects are used only when absolutely necessary. The footage was shot on film instead of digital format. Cinematographer Janusz Kaminski painstakingly studied the first three movies in order to preserve the style of previous cinematographer Douglas Slocombe (who is now retired). The result looks, as George Lucas said, “like it was shot 3 years after the Last Crusade, you’d never know there was 20 years between shooting.” Unlike a certain other George Lucas franchise we all know and love.
Posted by gjblass at 10:31 AM
Posted by gjblass at 10:26 AM
Posted by gjblass at 10:22 AM
Radiohead is all about the contests and fan participation this year. Voting continues in the "Nude Re/Mix" competition and meanwhile aniBoom's In Rainbows Animated Music Video Contest, which invites people to create animated pieces set to In Rainbows tracks, has decided on 10 semi-finalists
read more | digg story
Posted by gjblass at 10:21 AM
Is America's Hottest College Girl 2008
It's a tie between Fight Club and American History X. Or just anything with Edward Norton. A-mazing.
One of the most exciting things for me this past year has just been moving to college. Experiencing that kind of freedom was so much fun and different for me. I'm sure other college students can relate to moving away for the first time.
Oh gosh, probably like 10-15. If they're from McDonald's with BBQ sauce ESPECIALLY. Best out there. Go ahead, tell me all about "Super Size Me" and how terrible they are for you. I'll eat 'em all, in your FACE.
Posted by gjblass at 9:37 AM
Although we love our public transportation here at Inhabitat, we cannot deny the allure of a zero-emission vehicle. We’re always excited to see more sustainable transportation options for consumers, especially when they go from concept to completely available. The TRIAC, designed by Green Vehicles, is a three wheeled highway capable plug-in electric vehicle that is ready to achieve up to 80mph on the open road. This fun, fast, eco-friendly ride is set to go on sale this summer!
The TRIAC is essentially a large, covered trike. The 20kw electric motor can achieve a very reasonable 80mph, and will take you on travels up to 100 miles on any given charge. It takes about 6 hours for its lithium-ion battery to recharge fully and, as with most electric vehicles, it comes with a regenerative braking system. The package for all of this three-wheeled fun runs about $20,000 dollars.
Posted by gjblass at 9:34 AM
Two day-late posts in two weeks! I'll blame sickness this time around.
So lets get in to it. This week, I've been listening to a lot of Cream - Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce, and Ginger Baker. This right here, along with his work with John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers is what would have forever cemented Clapton's name as legendary even if he had disappeared from the Earth shortly thereafter. This is the stuff that prompted English fans to scrawl the now famous "Clapton is God" graffiti all over London. This stuff is that good.
What is probably overlooked these days is just how damn good both Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce were. In fact, one of the major (if not "the" major) reasons this group imploded is because they were all just THAT good - there wasn't really one star, there were three. Just listening to them makes my head hurt because I'm trying to listen to all three of them at once - no one is laying back and just holding the groove, they all want to be front and center and try their best to get there. I even heard they once got into a fist fight on state. Luckily, it is tension like that which produces the best music. Enjoy.
Posted by Gary at 8:08 AM